At the ISA meeting in Columbus, Ohio, the International Society of Arboriculture presented its Alex L. Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education to Ken Palmer and Rip Tompkins. The award was presented to each of these ground-breakers in arboricultural education individually, in recognition of their efforts through ArborMaster Training, Inc. to advance working safely and effectively in tree care. Through their company, Ken and Rip helped establish a new plane upon which the standards of arboricultural safety and safe practices continue to be built.
For Rip and Ken, this award is a double honor. Not only have they been recognized by their peers for their high accomplishments, but the award is named in honor of fellow New Englander Alex Shigo. Both Ken and Rip knew Alex personally, worked closely with him and consider him to have been a good friend. Dr. Shigo, of course, is one of the transformational figures in modern arboriculture. To have their work now associated with his is something both men take great pride in.
Their receipt of this award breaks a long chain of recipients of this award with largely academic backgrounds. In announcing the award, ISA acknowledged the innovative nature of the ArborMaster approach. As Paul Ries, until recently ISA Board President, stated, “When ArborMaster Training came along they changed the way that training was viewed in arboriculture”. ArborMaster Training was founded 22 years ago, based on a systematic approach that highlighted professionalism, innovation and hands-on practicality. Through in-person classes, videos and other training tools, the company continues to reach a widely diverse and truly worldwide audience of tree care workers and arborists.
It is without a doubt that Rip and Ken have changed the way arborists and tree care workers approach their work. The field is safer and more safety conscious because of their efforts. Tree work is being done more efficiently and effectively. It is also without a doubt that Ken and Rip’s efforts have saved lives. It is reasonable to say that this award reflects, not just the respect but also the gratitude of the arboricultural community for their accomplishments.
ArborMaster Training is an Allied Member of CTPA